FAQ on Biodiesel

1. What is palm biodiesel?
Palm biodiesel is an alternative fuel derived from palm oil and can be used in compression ignition engines, i.e. diesel engines without any modifications. It refers to methyl esters derived from palm oil through a process known as 'transesterification'.

2. What is the difference between biofuels and biodiesel?
Biofuels are alternative fuels derived from renewable natural resources, i.e. vegetable oils and their derivatives, bioethanol, biomass, etc. Biodiesel refers to alkyl esters of long chain fatty acids derived from vegetable oils and their derivatives, animal fats, waste oils, etc. Therefore, biodiesel is on type of biofuel.

3. Who was behind the initial research and development (R&D) of biodiesel from palm oil?
Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) started the R&D of biodiesel from palm oil and its products way back in 1982. Since then, MPOB has conducted extensive R&D in using palm biodiesel as diesel substitute.

4. Is palm biodiesel a sustainable energy?
Generally, sustainable energy is about using energy wisely, and using energy produced by clean technologies or from renewable sources and causes no long-term damage to the environment. Palm biodiesel produced in Malaysia is from palm oi, which is produced in a sustainable manner and their use conserve our crude petroleum reserve and contributes to our own economy. Malaysian palm biodiesel is therefore a sustainable energy.

5. Can palm oil compete with other vegetable oils as feed-stock for biofuel and biodiesel?
One of the important criteria for any vegetable oils to be used as biofuel is availability at competitive price. Palm oil meets this criterion perfectly. It is already common knowledge within the world of oils and fats that the development of the oil palm industry in Malaysia has been remarkable. Malaysia takes pride of the fact that within a relatively short period of time, we have become the world's second largest producer and largest exporter of palm oil products in the international oils and fats market. Furthermore, the advantage which palm oil holds over other oils and fats lies in its productivity, yield and efficiency factors. Oil palm is the most productive oil bearing plant species known. The yield of palm oil per unit area is 5 and 10 times higher than rapeseed and soyabean oil, respectively. Considering the comparative yields of various oil bearing crops, palm oil is clearly the most efficiently produced oil in  the world today. When the world is looking at vegetable oils as renewable fuel, palm oil will undoubtedly stand out among other vegetable oils. This yield factor alone is adequate for the world to decide which vegetable oil should be produced to meet the expanding requirement for Greener and Cleaner Energy’ for its growing population.

6. Do you have palm biodiesel with low pour point to be used in temperate countries?
Palm biodiesel with low pour point (winter grade) that is suitable as diesel substitute in temperate countries has been successfully produced by MPOB. The normal palm biodiesel with pour point of + 15°C can only be used in tropical countries while the winter grade palm biodiesel (-21°C to 0°C) can be used in temperate countries to meet the seasonal pour point requirements (summer grade, 0°C; spring and autumn grades, -10°C; and winter grade, -20°C).

7. What other benefits can be derived from palm biodiesel project?
It increases new business and job opportunities in Malaysia. It also provides opportunity to extract phytonutrients such as carotenes (pro-vitamin A) and vitamin E.

8. Can palm biodiesel be used directly in diesel engines?
Yes. Neat palm biodiesel (straight non-mixed biodiesel) can be used as fuel in diesel engines without any engine modifications. It can also be blended in any proportion with petroleum diesel.

9. What will happen to our car engines if we revert to petroleum diesel after using palm biodiesel?
The car engine should encounter no problem as studies have shown that palm biodiesel and petroleum diesel can be blended in any proportion.

Source: Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB)

Find Us

Malaysian Biodiesel Association (MBA)
Wisma FMM,
No. 3, Persiaran Dagang, PJU 9, Bandar Sri Damansara, 52200 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

(t) +603 6286 7200
(f) +603 6277 6714
(e) secretariat@mybiodiesel.org.my